“There’s too much anger out there. People don’t listen to you when you’re angry.” Joel Bayliss had a right to be angry when he saw a Bill Leak cartoon that perpetrated stereotypes of parental neglect and alcohol abuse among Aboriginal men. But his response was one of love – he Tweeted a selfie with his two young children and the comment “I am a proud Aboriginal father.”
Joel’s tweet sparked a heartwarming slideshow of family life, connected by the hashtag #indigenousdads. It trended across Australia as Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people posted photographs of their kids and their dads. “The beauty of social media is that it gives people who haven’t had a voice in the past a chance to speak,” he says.
That voice will be heard from the stage at TEDx Adelaide 2016 on 20 October. Joel, a board member of Reconciliation SA, says the widespread embrace of #indigenousdads was one reason he decided to speak at the event. “It’s about getting a group of diverse people on stage, and another opportunity to get that Aboriginal voice out into the community.”